People were surprised to hear that The Bible got higher ratings than American Idol last week. The Bible is a television mini-series based on Scripture. 13.1 million people tuned into the History Channel last week to watch the Old Testament stories come to life. The series will be aired in 5 episodes and will cover biblical history from Genesis to Revelation. Roma Downey and Mark Burnett have produced the program and, while it probably won’t be used for a seminary class, it is a great overview of biblical history. I have to admit, I was kind of put off by the violence – but then I have to admit the Bible has a lot of violence. The show is a great opportunity for the world to see history unfold from the beginning of time itself. I will be interested to see how the end of world history, from the Book of Revelation, is portrayed.
The Bible is a television hit – and I think Christians everywhere should notice those ratings. Have we under-estimated the interest people have in God? Have we been tricked into believing that our message is unpopular or irrelevant? The Bible is antiquated, in fact, it is as old as time. It is the history of time – and I’m glad the History Channel is reminding the world of that fact. Why is the Bible the most important book ever written and why do we need to be reminded of that today?
Jim has written a great essay on the purpose of the Bible, entitled Fulfill the purpose of Scripture. If you haven’t read it yet – you should! And I’m not saying that because I’m married to the author! I would call that essay “Bible 101” and every Christian should be able to pass that course! I am enjoying the television mini-series but I hope people will want to read the book too!
I am a huge fan of God’s word. I have a LOT of Bibles. I even have a Bible app on my phone and I-Pad. I have commentaries on the Bible and a lot of books and devotionals. I consume parts of the Bible every day. But I have never found the vocabulary to describe the power of this “book.” When I read God’s word, my life is impacted by its words.
When I was a sophomore in high-school my dad was transferred from northern California back to Los Angeles. I was half-way through high school and while my friends were ordering their class rings, I was packing up my belongings to start over again in a new city. While the movers were loading the van, I sat on the curb with my going away gift from the youth minister at church. He had asked the youth group to write notes in a copy of The Living Bible, and they had presented it to me the night before. I sat on the curb that day as our furniture was packed to go, and started reading. It was the first time I had read a Bible that wasn’t the King James version, and I remember reading the gospels like they were a great epic novel. And I remember feeling like everything was going to be just fine. I read the Bible and it was as if God was saying, “I love you – and this change in your life is my plan.” I was reading a “book” but God was speaking to me from the pages. That day I encountered God in a new way and I’ve been meeting him in his word since that time.
I’m glad The Bible is a successful mini-series. But I hope it will drive people to open the Bible, God’s holy word. There is unimaginable power in the book that we sit on a shelf, carry on our arm, and too often take for granted. Spend some time during this Lenten season reading the Bible. Once again I’m reminded that while a movie is good – the book is always better!